Friday, April 27, 2012

Capacity Focus, 39: Using Modular course delivery and part time (evening or summer school) access to implement the proposed AA CCS programme

As we continue to reflect on the proposed AACCS programme for implementation based on a cyber campus and local micro-campus centres [cf. some preliminary thoughts here and here, also here and onward], the issue of modes for accessing the programme naturally comes up. 

The issue, is, how do we develop a programme that does not demand that students spend their full time on campus for two years? 

The answer, as is now traditional, is to use a slower paced, part time access mode that "nominally" takes twice as long:

For instance, the programme could be accessed through two or three eventing and/or weekend sessions, and/or through four intensive summer sessions or a blend of the two, or even a blend with a full time access mode as well. 

The duration, of course, can be shortened by granting transfer credits and/or accrediting prior and experiential learning. That gives great flexibility. 

In addition, it should be obvious that the year blocks are useful units of study in themselves, well worth a short-course certificate. (Statements of participation and achievement for individual courses would be useful for credit-banking and even employment purposes.)

This also brings to bear a handy way to budget for and support the programme in a given micro-campus in a community, as supporting one course at a time, using one small set of resources and a facilitator is much less of a strain on resources than the requisites of launching a full-fledged campus. It has already been shown (see the just linked) that a couple of runs with a couple of dozen students at modest fee rates could fund the programme as a going concern. That modest cost to extend the network will also promote rapid growth once the idea starts to snowball.

Of course, it would also be not too hard to gain sponsorship for setting up a small micro-campus facility, then for sponsoring scholarships for students. 

The main facility required in a local campus (assuming something like a church office already exists and can carry a modest administrative load) would be a broadband-linked multimedia seminar room, such as:

Central initial development costs and administration and co-ordination costs would require separate support, but if we have a growing, effective programme, such should also not be too hard to do.

And with this, we are clearly approaching the end of the "shoestring era" in the development of the AACCS programme:

1 --> We have a viable framework for an associate degree level programme, from second opportunity secondary studies, to bridging studies to a plainly viable Associate degree.

2 --> We have a programme structure ["architecture"], based on the classic Greek Temple model, as is illustrated above.

3 --> We have a demonstration course that shows the feasibility of online content delivery and that of a powerful survey theology course as a means to give backbone to "lay leaders" in training for the church, the NCSTS street level systematic theology survey.

4 --> We have several possible modes of delivery (as this post discusses)

5 --> We have a tested layout for a microcampus centre multimedia training facility (as is illustrated above)

6 --> We have an idea of what it would cost to run the system, and can estimate what it would cost to set up such microcampus centres, case by case.

7 --> Thanks to the broad penetration of broadband internet in the region, and the affordable availability of computer and network technologies (as well as of technical support people) we have a viable basis for a cybercampus and for access points in communities.

8 --> Because of the coming wave of 7" Android tablet PCs with vinyl folders and keyboards for approx. US$ 100, we have a viable ebook reader and computing platform for students:
9 --> The rise of similar thin client PCs [of similar internal power to the tablet or smart phone, but able to access "cloud" resources through the local server or the general internet)  that can piggyback on LCD monitors and integrate with a server for each local network, gives us a cost effective network technology for microcampus centres.

10 --> The rise of digital library technologies and the possibility of suitable partners in the region [i.e. existing seminary libraries with appropriate staff and facilities] means that we can credibly develop a major reference resource for education and training.
What this really means is that either we do it, to advance the gospel in the region and the world, or someone else will do something much like this, to our detriment.

Time is short, and the water is rising, with more -- and very well funded, thank you -- tidal wave surges from the North and the East on the way:

Somehow, I find this a much better alternative future, and -- given what the proposed AACCS would equip people to do -- a quite obviously feasible one:

So, the issue comes back down to: are we willing to invest the focus, effort and resources to develop, roll out and implement the programme [in a suitably fully developed form], sustaining it across time so it develops its full impact? 

That is, why not now, why not here, why not us? [Cf Esther 4, esp vv 12 - 14.] END